In the quaint town of Weston, the ring of a bell and the squeak of a floorboard let you know you're about to experience the Vermont Country Store.
"The stores are the heart and soul of the business," owner Lyman Orton said.
With 15,000 square feet of unique, hard-to-find products, this could be the final resting place of the phrase "back in my day." Whether it's some Vim & Vigor you're looking for or just some penny candy, the Vermont Country Store has it, and it has had it for the past 66 years.
Reporter Gina Bullard: This store brings back a lot of memories for you.
Lyman Orton: This store is memories. I was 5 years old when my father and mother started the store in 1946.
The business has changed over the years but one thing remains the same-- it's still a family affair. Gardner, Cabot and Eliot, Lyman's sons or boys as he likes to call them, have all grown up in the business.
"With fathers and sons you can be going along working and then the whole thing can blow up into some eruption like when they were 14," Lyman said.
The Vermont Country Store started as a 12-page, 36-item catalog. It now has thousands of products and 500 employees. Sales hit $100 million last year; 10 percent of that is driven from its two retail locations in Weston and Rockingham, the rest comes from catalogue and online sales.
"It's all about the products, it's all about merchandise," Lyman said.
With more than 1 million customers a year from all over the world, it looks like the merchandising and business model is working. Wednesday the store hosted a group of reporters from the United Kingdom. They're travel writers looking for unique destinations, like the Vermont Country Store.
"Customers come from all over and they come, we think, to get a slice of a simpler time, stepping back to when things were simpler in a way; when things just worked," Eliot said.
There are changes at the Vermont Country Store. CEO Bill Shouldice is stepping down after seven years on the job. One of his main responsibilities was to prepare the third generation of Orton boys to run the business.
"We all have the same goal in mind and that's what binds us together. This is a family legacy for us. We see us passing it on to our kids," Eliot said.
A third generation of Vermonters still beating the odds in the business world.
The Orton boys say that there always is the possibility of a third store and they hope to open it before their kids take over.
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